Friday, December 21, 2012


Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
 Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

* * *

Monday, December 10, 2012

green shrine tree

i walked to the green shrine tree today even though i was sure it would be in deep shade - and cold...   when i got there, to my utter amazement, the tree was in the only patch of sunshine for quite a distance!  

i'm going to take a blogging break;  dip down into the quiet beauty that is this time of year in the northern hemisphere...  i wish you all beauty and love filled december days!

* * * 

left in a sunny spot yesterday - prismacolor pencils on shell

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

'mona' ~ water soluble oils on canvas panel - 4" x 6"

i was painting with oils until a few weeks ago when i started to run out of places to put them while they dried... 

oils and mixed media pieces hanging on a 'clothesline'  in my art room

i finally got some tiny clothespins so i could hang paintings on paper on a 'clothesline',  but by then i was off into watercolor land.   anyway,  i'm ready when oil painting fever strikes again!  thank you, amy, i got the clothesline idea from you...

mona was painted mostly with a palette knife - everything except her eyes and lips, which i used a small brush for.  i'm fascinated with palette knife painting...

8 1/2" x 11" stillman and birn 'beta'  on easel

i've also been trying out different ways to paint on bigger surfaces.  my tiny art room is *full*; there's no room for anything even slightly big in there, so i set up this easel in the living room.  a friend gave it to me a couple of years ago, and i think it'll be a good solution.  i want to be able to see what i'm working on throughout the day - stuff comes to you at the oddest times as you're passing by or just sitting and gazing...  

otherwise i've been working in my daily book - these are the last pages in the book that i finished last week.  monique, her daughter,

and monique's childhood doll, valerie.  they just all seemed related to monique!

in my new daily  book...   these pics are dark - we've had almost no sunshine in the last week.

the piece on the left is after (way after)  this painting by edouard vuillard.  her eyes and lips fascinated me - they're so subtle, yet so expressive - in edouard vuillard's painting!  he impresses me endlessly...

all of the daily book pages were done with watercolors, watercolor pencils, and graphite...

 four completed stillman and birn 'gamma'  daily books.  i remember very clearly when i started in my first 'gamma' last january.  i was so happy to have  found a  4" x 6" book that had beautiful and versatile paper in it.  i'm still happy...  : )

* * *

“Regularity, order, desire for perfection destroy art. Irregularity is the basis of all art.”

~ Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Sunday, November 25, 2012

 'maggie contemplates december' ~ watercolors, gouache, colored pencils, graphite, vellum, and masking tape in my daily book

lately i've been thinking "don't blame the medium"...     it's easy to think that if we just had this or that medium we could really paint what we wanted to paint.   of course watercolors are never going to be opaque and glossy like oils, but they can be used in their own way to communicate a similar feeling (and vice versa).   the trick is to learn a medium well enough so that we can use it to express ourselves.   i know this is probably a very obvious truth to most people, but it's coming through loud and clear to me right now...

'melinda...' and 'madame lacaux...' ~ watercolors, gouache, graphite, and colored pencils in my daily book

beyond getting to know a medium, though, it seems to be about *trusting* it (and yourself) enough to let it do its thing.   it's a two way streetwe can't just boss it around, we have to let it show us the way too.

part of an unfinished page ~ gouache, watercolors, colored pencil, and graphite in my daily book

and i've been thinking that if i want what i do to be mysterious, i can't fill in all the blanks!  duh!!  and obviously the perfection thing has got to go (and stay) right out the window.

this is what i've been thinking...  : )

prismacolor pencils on rusty lid

we've had some sunny weather which  makes me very happy...  i've been out wandering, drawing on rusty stuff and finding high, sunny spots to lounge on.

prismacolor pencils on rusty lid

sometimes you find a can or a lid that's rusted to perfection; it's the most wonderful surface for colored pencils.  this pimento lid was rusty perfection...

if i do say so myself, i have the art of lounging on sunny spots down to a fine art.   i don't mind if i have to carry extra stuff with me if it means i have a comfy nest once i get there.  a soft something to lay your head on is essential.

this makes me happiest of all...

definite riches

no wait, this makes me happiest of all...  

; )

* * *

Thursday, November 15, 2012

watercolors, watercolor pencils and graphite in stillman and birn 'gamma' ~ 4" x 6"

wow, november is really marching along - the 15th already?!   many cloudy/snowy/rainy days here lately, which is fabulous for all of the plant life but not much for picture taking...     zipped outside before coffee yesterday to snap these.   some of this week's pages in my daily book.

i looked in this book to get ideas for the flowers.  i got it a few years ago in the bargain section at barnes and noble.   it looks like it's out of print now, but a fabulous book if you want to buy one used. while at amazon looking to see if it was still available, i saw

watercolors,  watercolor pencils, graphite, and uni-ball white and gold gel pens

watercolors, watercolor pencils, gouache, and graphite

pogo print pages from last week's walk...  getting in last visits with tree friends before winter...

and from yesterday...    out wandering to see how two snows and several rains have changed things.  i was getting ready to cross the creek and visit the green shrine tree here...

* * *

"What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit."

~ John Updike (quoted in cultivating your creative life...)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

some things i've drawn in my 'daily book' lately...     i used watercolors and watercolor pencils, a mechanical pencil, an 8B pencil, and an occasional colored pencil...

marge, tom, sue ann, and a woodpecker feather...

when we were on our trip, roxanne figured out that it's easier to draw a tree if you start drawing at the tip of the branches and draw down to form the trunk/bigger branches.  

we went on quite the tree drawing jag after this discovery... 

my hair elastic thingie was laying on the page and i liked it so much i painted it in.  (the real thing looked better, though)

the idea for strands of jewels in the trees came from alena hennessey's book 'cultivating your creative life...'

and this bird is my attempt at copying a bird from the same book...  i like alena's drawings...

i want to put dangly jewels everywhere now...

prismacolor pencils and graphite on piece of shell

i know, it's not my daily book; they're just so dang smile making...  : )

* * *

“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.”

~ Piet Mondrian

Friday, November 2, 2012

'bebe' ~ water soluble oils on canvas panel, 4" x 6" 

'bebe'  was going to be at the top of last tuesday's post, but that day we got a bunch of snow and lost our internet service.  the next morning roxanne and i left for camano island and earthtone studios to take an intuitive painting workshop from sue simpson.  even though i got back three days ago i'm still resting;   for me it's 1400 miles up and back, but so worth it...

this is a pic of the cabins that we stayed in at cama beach state park.   some places just feel peaceful, and this is one of them...   yeah, look at all of those pieces of shell for drawing on...  : )

 tempera on heavy paper, 14" x 17"

you can read about the workshop here...  it was not about painting 'good' or 'pretty' pictures, it was about learning and growing through painting, and  i loved it.   the painting above was my first, and i found myself going back and forth wildly between painting what i *felt* and what 'looked good'. 

 tempera on heavy paper, approx. 2' x 4'

this is as far as i got on my last painting;  i can honestly say that the desire to make it 'look good' was just not there.  i was painting and that was that...

sue, thank you - you're a gem of a human being and teacher...

roxanne and i did *so much art* during the six days we were gone!!  every night we painted, drew and/or collaged.  the table in our cabin always looked this messy!

before i go back to resting, i want to send everyone my wishes for warmth and safety after the recent storms... 

 near our cabin when we arrived

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

'her name was red' ~ water soluble oils on canvas board, 4" x 6"

i've got oil painting fever, that's all there is to it.  i was going to post last night and the night before that, but nope, i had to go do a little something (ha!) to the painting i was working on...

i stopped painting with water soluble oils in early august when i realized that my brushes were becoming as stiff as boards.  water wasn't cleaning the paint out of them completely at the end of the day, and some colors, like phthalo blue and most of the reds, were practically impossible to get out of the brush while i was painting.  which led to a lot of research and ended with me buying the cleaners above.  they work!!  the maimeri brush cleaner is here at dick blick, and the master's brush cleaner and preserver is here if you want to read more about them.    i use the maimeri while i'm painting and the master's cleaner/restorer at the end of the day to thoroughly clean all of the paint out.  the master's cleaner is pretty miraculous stuff.   when i run out of the maimeri i'm going to try weber's turpenoid natural.  thank you, amy, for your help with this...

at the same time that i ordered the brush cleaners i ordered a palette knife.  janine, thank you for helping me figure out which knife to start with;  i had no idea there were so many sizes and shapes.   when i started painting the other day i'd almost forgotten that i ordered it, but wow, four days of using it have made me a palette knife lover.  surely they're an oil painter's best friend!  not only is smearing paint around (and dabbing it on) fantastically fun with it, it's great for scooping up one color to mix with another, and then smushing them together.  it's also perfect for scooping paint out of the tube if you just want a small amount. they're super flexible and just one swipe over a paper towel cleans the paint off completely.

the clear tray in the pic sits in the lid of the (non) airtight palette that i mentioned here.   i decided to put the paint on this instead of inside the actual palette.    it takes up less room on the table and i just stick it inside the 'airtight' palette when i'm done.

yep, i've already decided on my next  palette knife.  i'm almost out of white, so i can order it then.  ; )

* * *

"A well composed painting is half done."

~Pierre Bonnard

Thursday, October 11, 2012

'celestina' ~ graphite and watercolors in stillman and birn 'gamma'

no, i didn't throw my 'daily book' out for the pocket moleskine!   no way!   the paper in a stillman and birn 'gamma' is so much more versatile than the paper in a moleskine sketchbook - in my opinion...

i think that i haven't been clear about why i'd *need* another book for smudgy faces.   it's because i like to use paper with a smooth surface for them, especially when they're small.   you can have more smudgy detail on a smooth surface. 

 'etta' ~ graphite and prismacolor pencils in pocket moleskine sketchbook

  i lightly erased the left side of etta just to see what would happen, and i think  it made her more interesting.  i'm endlessly fascinated by how the heaviness of a line affects everything about a piece.  and, re: erasing,  i can't say enough good things about the triangular eraser that i mentioned in the last post.  i no longer erase half of the nose when i'm erasing the mouth...

* * *

Sunday, October 7, 2012

'marie therese' ~ graphite, prismacolor pencils and albrecht durer watercolor pencils

i'm still drawing a lot of smudgy faces...

manila tags smudge beautifully!

*and* i bought a pocket moleskine to draw them in, right page only so there's no worry about smudging the drawing on the opposite page.  the pencil is my new cretacolor 8B pencil.  i like it even more than the derwent 8B!  it feels almost weightless, sharpens beautifully, and lays down a gorgeous, dark line.

i got it last week in chico, CA at ellis art and engineering -  i love this store!  they have a good variety of stuff to try out...  i also got a pentel triangular eraser that's perfect for erasing in small areas, and a derwent turquoise green watercolor pencil.  it's greenish aqua, which is one of my favorite colors and not easy to find.

one street over i found this book in a used bookstore; i can't remember the name of the bookstore, but it's the big one downtown, and it has a *huge* art book section.  definitely worth checking out if you're in chico.

it's full of sketches and paintings that picasso painted between the ages of 11 and 25.

the images are high quality and  many of them are large.  and there are lots of images from his sketchbooks...

if you click on the link (above) you'll see that there are a  lot of used and new copies for sale at amazon, starting at $5.08 including shipping.  i highly recommend it.

'loves trees and parks' ~ graphite and prismacolor pencils on a piece of shell

left this at a park in chico.  now i'm back home, drawing more smudgy faces...

*  *  *
 early last summer i was interviewed by lesley riley; she was in the process of putting together a workshop, and as part of that she interviewed ten artists that she feels have a unique style.    fortunately she told me what the questions were before the interview because the focus was on composition, which isn't something that i give much thought to in a rational, left brain sort of way when i'm painting.  i can honestly say that i enjoyed the interview a great deal! i felt like i was talking with a kindred spirit who totally 'got' what i was saying...  i could've chatted  for a long, long time, ha!   fast forward to now and her workshop, compose+yourself, is almost ready to start, and  i'm helping her spread the word.  she's incorporated the interviews into the workshop, but there's so much more - it's a three month course for heaven's sake!  if you feel at all inclined, please check it out...